Sunday, May 15, 2016

Victoria Falls

On our first morning in Victoria Falls, we naturally went to see the falls itself. Twice the height of Niagara, Victoria Falls is the "world's largest sheet of falling water." The local name for the falls is The Smoke that Thunders, referring to the huge amount of spray that is sent back up into the air (we saw the spray the previous day from the plane as we approached the Victoria Falls airport).

The falls drops into a narrow gorge, allowing a great view looking upriver from the opposite side.

The first European to see the falls was David Livingstone, who arrived there in November 1855.

 A different way to say that is that Livingstone "discovered" the falls.

We were there just at the end of the wet season, so the falls were going at full volume, which is an astounding sight, including the amount of spray that is produced.

The trade-off is that the resulting spray is so intense that in some places that it completely obscures the falls. They say that you need to visit twice, to see it in both the wet and dry seasons.

The spray produces frequent rainbows.

Some views from upriver at the top of the falls.

The spray is so intense that it produces a small rainforest ecosystem. In some places, the falling spray is like a constant, heavy, rainstorm. The ponchos that we rented at the entrance to the park were definitely needed.

Here's Brian after deciding to don his poncho.

On the downriver side of the falls, the river widens into what's called the Boiling Pot.

While walking around the falls, we had our first view of vervet monkeys. They're a pretty common sight in this part of the world.

The Zambezi river forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There's a bridge across the Zambezi just downriver from the falls.

We didn't have the necessary visa to actually enter Zambia and then return to Zimbabwe, but we were able to get from the Zimbabwe border control staff this very official looking "bridge pass" that allowed us to walk across the bridge and back (there was some trepidation within the group as to whether they would actually let us back in, but everything worked just fine).

We walked out to the middle of the bridge where, in addition to buying overpriced trinkets from peddlers, you can bungee jump (we did not jump, but some trinkets were bought).

After walking around the falls, we retired for lunch on the terrace of the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, which offers a view of the falls. We would return here that evening for dinner at the Livingstone Room.

We will get to Cape Town, but not yet.
During lunch, a group of warthogs wandered onto the lawn and ate whatever they pleased. There was a hotel employee patrolling the area with a rifle, but we didn't see him use it.

Anne Marie vetoed our planned trip to The Snake Pit.

Nor did we try any of the fast food on offer in the town of Victoria Falls.

Next stop, Botswana!

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